Climate and wealth gap in the spotlight as Norway goes to the polls
- The election takes place from September 12 to 13
- Labor opposition and allies ready to take power
- The transition away from oil should be gradual
OSLO, Sept.9 (Reuters) – Norway votes this weekend after a nationwide election campaign dominated by climate change and a growing wealth gap, though whoever wins looks certain to secure the country’s transition away from oil – and the jobs it creates – is a gradual one.
Opinion polls show the opposition Labor Party is on track to replace Erna Solberg’s ruling Conservative coalition, although Labor would need the support of two or more other parties to secure a parliamentary majority. Read more
Since an August 9 report from the United Nations warning that global warming is about to get out of hand, climate change has become one of the two main topics of debate.
The other, in a country where egalitarianism is an entrenched value, is the growing disparity between rich and poor.
The man set to become prime minister after the September 12-13 poll, Labor leader Jonas Gahr Stoere, has pledged to tackle inequality by offering tax breaks to low- and middle-income families and increasing rates for the rich. Read more
“Equal rights and equal opportunities must be guaranteed,” he told Reuters. “(Inequalities)… have increased in recent years. A more equitable distribution is therefore a foundation of our policy and it will be felt. “
The proportion of Norwegian children living persistently in low-income households increased from 3.3% in 2001 to 11.7% in 2019, according to Statistics Norway, as house prices exceeded wages, multiplying by six in 30 years.
OIL LOCKING ON
Stoere said his government will also focus on reducing Norway’s CO2 emissions in line with the 2015 Paris agreement, while working to avoid job losses in its largest export industry. , oil and gas production. Read more
“We have nine years to meet the 2030 targets by meeting the Paris targets, so we will reduce 55% of our emissions,” he said.
“It’s a huge transition, so we really need to get started in those first four years. To have a just climate change policy, you need more active participation from… the state to support this transition.”
Labor will have to rely on the support of two or more other parties to push through their policies, polls suggest.
The Green Party, the Socialist Left and the Marxist-inspired Reds – all pro-environmental – are all expected to make gains and seek to influence the next government, as is the Rural Center Party.
Smaller parties will seek compromises to reduce the ambitions of the oil industry, such as limiting its ability to explore more fields.
But with the two other possible candidates for prime minister – Solberg and Trygve Slagsvold Vedum of the Center Party read more – also favoring further oil drilling, it seems unlikely that the environmental lobby will still call time on an industry that represents 42% of national exports and employs around 160,000 people.
Norway is the largest oil producer in Western Europe, exporting some four million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Editing by John Stonestreet
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